Coronavirus: is boosting one’s immune system effective?
As of mid-March 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) reached more than 135,000 cases of contagion in around 126 countries, according to reports. In China alone, where the pandemic originated, there are more than 81,000 cases and 3,170 deaths.
The number of deaths worldwide exceeds 5,000, and in turn, there are 65,000 recovered. In Italy, the figure exceeds 17,000 infections; it is the country with more cases and more deaths after China.
Most people at risk are those who have their immune systems depressed, that is, with low defenses. In this situation, the WHO (World Health Organization) stressed that the virus infects people of all ages. Still, there is evidence that those over 60 years of age and those with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer) are at higher risk. At the same time, it explained that the best way to avoid contagion is not masks, but good hygiene.
Factors that influence the immune system
People often questions whether diet, exercise, and stress, influence this field. On the first topic, eating in a balanced way is undoubtedly essential. After all, no soldier can fight well if he is not well nourished. Some studies have shown that people in extreme poverty with malnutrition are more susceptible to infectious diseases. And there is evidence that a lack of certain micronutrients such as zinc, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins E, D, and C can alter the immune response.
Regarding exercise, it is clear that it is one of the pillars of a healthy life, crucial for good health, and that is why one should regularly do it. It not only improves the cardiovascular profile but also lowers blood pressure and helps control weight. Thus, a healthy diet and physical activity also contribute to a stable immune system, perhaps because they promote circulation, allowing cells and other substances that defend the body to go free in the body doing their job.
The body continually produces these defense cells, and there is always an oversupply of lymphocytes or T cells, the most warlike. However, no one yet knows how many lymphocytes a person must have for their immune system to function optimally. Furthermore, aging interferes with this ability. Therefore, over time an individual is at increased risk of cancer and infectious diseases. These diseases may include pneumonia, which is a significant cause of death among those over 65 years.
T cells appear to become scarce over time, either because the thymus, the gland that produces them, atrophies, or because the bone marrow stops working efficiently and does not make enough stem cells to make them. Therefore, the older adult population should get a vaccination against seasonal influenza and the streptococcus that causes pneumonia.
Fewer studies are there related to stress. Some have linked illness, including cancer, to stress. But not the acute one, which leads people to complete a task or run to save themselves, but the permanent or chronic one, which instead of helping harm daily life.
Ten ways to strengthen the immune system in times of coronavirus
The coronavirus continues to infect thousands in the world, while doctors reiterate that there is no treatment for this disease. Those affected must wait for their immune system to work. That has led many to wonder how to strengthen that battalion of cells that fight invading germs.
The beginning of March 2020 became one of the periods of the most considerable panic in the history of the Internet. But that doesn’t mean people have to wait for the coronavirus to knock on their door. There are various small things you can do to help your immune system to reach its optimum state. These are:
1. Follow the precautionary measures
The immune system begins to decline from the age of 30. And if you belong to the club for the elderly, do not think that the virus will go through the front without tickling you. Furthermore, younger people have a responsibility to avoid contact between the most vulnerable people. So the advice that the World Health Organization has given goes to everyone.
2. Wash your hands with plenty of water
The trick is to do it well, frequently, and, more than with a lot of soap, with a lot of water (if it’s lukewarm, the better). And by doing it right, the experts mean scrubbing for 20 seconds. Antibacterials work best if they contain a high percentage of alcohol and less if your hands are filthy.
3. The Mediterranean diet
It consists of fruits and vegetables of many colors because that variety guarantees enough antioxidants and nutrients that reduce inflammation. If they can be consumed in shell, much better, as it helps protect the bacterial flora in the digestive tract. Garlic is beneficial in ingredients in this. It is a substance with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. It works best when crushed and after waiting a few minutes before cooking it.
Turmeric and ginger are also the main components of this diet. They are powerful immune enhancers and act as anti-inflammatory substances.
4. Vitamin C and Berries
It is not very clear that it helps protect against the flu, but, according to studies, once the infection begins, it favors the symptoms phase to disappear soon because the immune cells need high doses of this substance. You need to eat lemons, oranges, bell peppers, cabbage, and apples.
Berries Saturated with vitamins and antioxidants help strengthen the immune system.
5. Regular Exercise
Moving regularly and often is crucial because movement stimulates the lymphatic system. Putting the muscles to work with strength exercises also produces chemicals that help the thymus, a gland that makes defense cells.
6. Vitamins D and Zinc
A study of 7,400 people showed that taking this vitamin reduces the risk of having at least one respiratory infection (influenza and pneumonia) by a third. As for zinc, the body does not produce it, but you can supplement it from the diet. It’s in red meat, seafood, legumes, seeds, and dark chocolate.
7. Whole foods
Gut bacteria protect the immune system because, when they metabolize food, they produce postbiotics that strengthen it. It is ideal for eating healthy things to feed these good critters. You can adopt a diet with fiber and whole or whole carbohydrates.
8. Drink plenty of water
Drinking a lot of water is vital because metabolic functions depend on it. If dehydrated, the mucous layer of the respiratory and digestive tract is disturbed and does not trap germs before entering the cell. Since tea and coffee are diuretics, they do not count in the dose of liquids that you must consume daily. On average, one should drink eight glasses of water daily.
9. Echinacea and throat lotions
There is evidence that this plant would have some effect on the immune response. Various studies have shown that it would work as a barrier against the flu and influenza. Some throat sprays are also beneficial to shorten the duration of these symptoms.
10. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
When you are lucky not to be too old or have a chronic disease, to help your body fight Covid 19, you must boost your immune system because it is it that defends us against microbes and viruses.
The best way to help our defenses is to stress as little as possible. Stress weakens our immune system.
Doctors also recommend that you sleep a lot. Sleep replenishes our defenses.
And then you have to do sports. It releases endorphin, the happiness hormone, and it lowers stress levels.
On the other hand, we should drink little (or no) alcohol because it’s not suitable for our white blood cells, the little soldiers of our immune system.
The relation of Coronavirus with Smoking
Yes, if someone else does not know that smoking is harmful, the beginning of spring 2020 may be the most suitable period in your life to give up this bad habit.
Chinese forensic scientists previously published a report that coronavirus causes inflammatory symptoms in the airways and sacs of the lungs.
The results of the autopsy of deceased patients showed that a characteristic inflammatory reaction is damage to the deep parts of the airways and pulmonary alveoli, which is caused by pneumonia caused by COVID-19,” the scientists explained.
Obviously, in smokers, the airways can be weakened without coronavirus. The same applies to vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, branded tobacco heaters, and other smoking devices.
Always follow your doctor’s recommendations!
We should note that, while these tips help to prevent the appearance of COVID-19 and can help to recover, they are not foolproof, however, and do not exempt you from following your doctor’s recommendations.
If you have symptoms characteristic of this coronavirus (fever, persistent cough, breathing difficulties, etc.) and you have been in contact with a virus-infected person, or have recently traveled to a risk zone, contact your health advisor, and avoid contact with those around you. On the other hand, do not go to your doctor or to the emergency room to prevent any potential contamination. Isolate yourself.